The Lenten practice is relatively new for me. The denomination I grew up in didn’t talk about it or acknowledge it really. I only knew that this was something other denominations practiced and my questionings were typically met with “we don’t agree with them”. I’m not belittling my denomination and it is nice to see them coming around. Back in the day, though, I wasn’t taught that there was any margin for consideration or attempts to understand or explain this liturgical practice of focusing on the impending death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was simply what others do.
My journey with the book, The Clearing Season: Reflections for Lent, by Sarah Parsons, began several years ago. Each season, I start from the beginning and each season I get a little bit further but I inevitably get hung up on a phrase or a section or a thought. My eyes still have not seen the last page and that’s perfectly okay with me. It will be there waiting for me when I get there.
There are no Lenten police. No one is hovering over me or peering around the corner to ensure I’m sticking to a schedule.
There is grace in Lent. Grace is the entire reason behind Lent after all.
As I read the account of the first Easter story in Luke 23, it’s curious to me that Luke would take the time to mention that Joseph of Arimathea was “waiting for the kingdom of God.”
“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.” Luke 23:50-51
Luke continues with Joseph asking Pilate for his consent to take Jesus’ body and Pilate granted that. Joseph then, along with Nicodemus, prepared Jesus’ body and placed it in the tomb Joseph had provided. Joseph and Nicodemus were both described as a silent follower of Jesus. This would be an important factor since Pilate would most likely have only given up Jesus’ body to someone he knew was not a follower. As far as Pilate knew, Joseph and Nicodemus were on his side. I love a good plot twist, don’t you?
The kingdom of God was coming. Until Jesus’ death on the cross, this world would only know bits and pieces of the kingdom. But with the act of grace and the shedding of the blood of the son of God, the kingdom of God was fully revealed. This is what Joseph was waiting for. He was waiting for Easter.
The practice of Lent is a reminder for us to focus on what is worth waiting for. We might wait for Easter to arrive on the calendar but we don’t have to wait for Jesus. He is available to us right now.
As a newcomer to what was once an untouchable liturgy, I have learned that Lent goes far beyond what I witnessed in Mardi Gras festivities. I’ve pondered Shrove Tuesday and entered into the Lenten season with wonder. I’ve allowed myself to wander into my own personal wilderness and discover that Lent is not as much about fasting as it is about focus. It is not as much about rituals as it is about reverence. (click to tweet)
During Lent, as we wait for Easter let us, like Joseph, be found waiting for the kingdom of God. Let us be waiting on the edge of our seats for what Jesus is going to do next. Let us clear space in our hearts so that we will be ready to receive the gift He has for us. Let us wait.
The Lenten season is not about accomplishing anything. It’s about waiting for Him to accomplish everything. (click to tweet)
As we wait for Easter, may we be found waiting for the King.
Photo Credit: Pixabay, ArtsyBee